Newcastle at least played with a lot more spirit and commitment yesterday than they did two years ago in also losing 1-0 to Aston Villa.
Shola Ameobi – pulled out with swollen knee
The disappointing thing yesterday is that Newcastle looked a poor side, and to us, just never looked like scoring, with absolutely no penetration up front.
Newcastle did have Ben Arfa, Gosling, Ireland, Tiote, Nolan, Ameobi, Best, Smith and Perch missing from yesterday’s squad for one reason or another, and for a squad as small as Newcastle’s, that’s a lot of good players to be missing.
And it showed, as Newcastle had a hard job making up their bench with four teenagers on it, and it seemed after the game that manager Alan Pardew tried to make the best of things, as he said:
“We gave a committed effort against a nervous Aston Villa but we would have liked to have been better,” “Our final pass and quality at set-plays could have been a whole lot better.”“I thought we started brightly. In that period we had a couple of big chances around the box where we should have capitalized.” “In the last third of the game I knew it would get nervous.”
“We managed to create some pressure but not enough really.” “We wanted our best players on the pitch, and that’s why we went the way we did.” “We’ve got Manchester United next and we’re going to look forward to that.”
“We’re the same as everyone else, we’d like to have 41, 42 points to feel a little bit more comfortable.” “In terms of the other results it’s been a decent weekend, putting big, big pressure on that bottom three.”
Trying to look positively at things in the future, which is always difficult after a poor performance and an even worse result, Frenchman Ben Arfa is not too far away from being available.
Pardew had marked down May 1st at Liverpool, as possibly being the game Ben Arfa could return to the squad for, and it looks like Pardew will need to play the 24 year-old up front as a striker.
We say that because Newcastle are fast running out of strikers, with Ameobi pulling out at the last minute with a knee problem (oh no!), and Newcastle having to start 19 year-old Nile Ranger in his place. Leon Best is out for season with his ankle problem, and had an operation on it last Friday, in London.
Ranger was OK in the first half but he disappeared in that second half, and we thought Shefki Kuqi should have been brought on after about 60 minutes, rather than 7 minutes from time.
Newcastle looked more threatening when Ryan Taylor and Kuqi were in the side, and why Pardew didn’t start Ryan Taylor on the right wing and Joey Barton in central midfield we have no idea, but that would have been a better starting side surely.
As it was, Pardew disrupted the back four by bringing in Steven Taylor, and he played Guthrie in attacking midfield, after the 23 year-old had played so well in defensive midfield last Saturday, and Coloccini came in and looked just too slow in defensive midfield. Too many unnecessary changes were made yesterday.
Apart from that it was a great team selection. 😀
Newcastle have to do a lot better against Manchester United, and we hope they can do just that, and the situation at present is nothing that a win next time out wouldn’t fix – immediately.